A new year sparks a unique sense of optimism within us, prompting many to set goals for what we hope to be our best year yet. While creating new year's resolutions is exciting, it’s only half the battle. The real challenge is maintaining those resolutions, even when the going gets tough.
Many of our resolutions are made in January, but studies show that almost 30% of those resolutions are abandoned after only one month.
Don’t be another resolution-breaker. Make your #1 resolution by following through with all the others. Here are a few tips for making long-lasting resolutions:
Maintaining your New Year’s resolution starts with diving deeper into your goal and what you want to get from it. For the best results, goals should be SMART. SMART is an acronym and a goal-setting framework that helps you outline a detailed, achievable resolution.
- Specific: The more specific you are, the better defined your goal can become. For example, instead of setting a goal to work out more this year, maybe you decide to go to the gym twice a week and lift weights for 30 minutes and take your dog for a daily walk. Now you have a better picture of the behavior change you’ll need to make.
- Measurable: Success in achieving a goal like “earning better grades” can be measured by grades or grade point average, but for other goals like “trying new things” or “learning a language” where success isn’t clearly defined, how will you know you’ve succeeded? Whether it’s simply being consistent or committing a certain amount of time to it, set the expectation so you’ll know when you’ve crossed the finish line.
- Attainable: It can be hard to find motivation when the goal feels out of reach. It’s great to dream big, but when it comes to New Year's resolutions, create goals that are appropriately challenging without being impossible. You might not be able to become a millionaire in less than a year, for example, but you can start smaller by contributing to your savings more often. Small steps are still steps in the right direction.
- Relevant: Think about your “why” – why do you want to make this change? Understanding what’s at the core of your New Year's resolution can help you stay committed to that goal throughout the year, recognize its importance, and ensure that it’s a goal worth having.
- Timely: What’s the time frame for this goal? For short-term goals, decide on an end date for when you’d like to complete it. For longer goals, setting smaller checkpoints throughout will help you stay on track to hit that larger goal.
Create a Schedule
After deciding on a clear, SMART goal, take some time to sit down and work out how you can integrate it into your schedule. If it’s something you can work on every day, set time aside to do so. You can even set a reminder on your phone, so you don’t forget.
Track Your Progress
On your way to hitting that larger goal, keep track of your progress. This can be done in a variety of different ways, depending on your resolution and personal preference. For example, you could share your progress on social media, write in a journal, or even just share with friends and family when you see them. Not only does this help you to see how far you’ve come, but you can also celebrate those smaller milestones on your way to achieving the big win.
A New Year’s resolution doesn’t need to be so serious! If starts to feel like a chore, you may start to lose motivation and be less likely to follow through. Instead, think about what can make working at that overarching goal fun for you, and make that part of it. Celebrate yourself and your investment in a successful future. No matter what your goal entails, consider these ideas to take a task from a drag to a delight:
- Get your friends involved
- Listen to music
- Wear a new outfit
- Use new supplies
- Reward yourself for steps earned toward your goal
Throughout your entire resolution journey, don’t forget to show yourself kindness. Changing your habits can be a difficult process and you may make mistakes, but that doesn’t need to stop you on your way to achieving your goals. You’ve got this! Here’s to a fulfilling future ahead.